Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday.
The Vatican shared photos of McCarthy’s private meeting with Francis and provided no other details on their conversation, which is usual, Reuters reported. McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.
McCarthy led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt earlier in the week.
House Speakers long have met with popes while in office.
Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made a surprise decision to step down from Congress after he brought Francis to speak to Congress in 2015, fulfilling a longtime goal of bringing a pope to speak to Congress.
Last year, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) received communion from Francis during a papal mass amid controversy over whether she should receive communion because of her stance in favor of abortion rights. She had a private audience with Francis at the Vatican in 2021.
McCarthy is the first non-Catholic Speaker since Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) left office in 2007. He has said he is a member of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who was a Baptist while he was in office, later converted to Catholicism. His wife, Callista Gingrich, was U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican during the Trump administration.